Corn, Cactus, and Chile: Exploring the Building Blocks of Mexican Cuisine - Atlas Obscura Trips
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Corn, Cactus, and Chile: Exploring the Building Blocks of Mexican Cuisine

from $2,375 USD per person for 5 days, 4 nights
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  • 12 People Maximum
  • Easy Activity Level
  • Urban Exploration
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Trip Overview

On this immersive journey, we'll learn about the essential ingredients of Mexican cuisine and their role in the daily life of Mexico City. Expect a one-of-a-kind experience filled with tastings, market visits, cooking workshops, harvest activities, and more. We’ll track down these building blocks of Mexican cooking, learning about the unique and ancient ways in which they are grown. We’ll also learn how they are prepared to create both classic and modern Mexican dishes. We’ll visit corn and cactus fields on the outskirts of Mexico City, taste agave sap drawn fresh from the plant, explore a beloved market where crickets and ant eggs are among the offerings, and step into kitchens of chefs who use Mexico’s elemental ingredients to preserve and update traditional recipes. At the end, we’ll have a cooking class utilizing many of the products encountered during our trip to help us bring it all together.

Feeding Mexico City, a megalopolis of some 22 million people, is no small feat. Incredibly, what the city’s residents eat–as well as how and where that food is grown–has remained largely unchanged since Aztec times, when the area already played home to a bustling urban center. Since those days, corn, beans, and chiles, supplemented by cactus, squash, and other products from the fertile lands surrounding Mexico City, have been the culinary bedrock of Mexican life. Over the course these in-depth and hands-on five days, we’ll gain a deeper sense of how these building blocks have helped shape not only Mexican cooking, but Mexican society as well. 


Atlas Obscura has partnered closely with Culinary Backstreets to create and curate this unique experience. Culinary Backstreets is a global guide to local eats that publishes restaurant reviews and features on local culinary culture. They bring these stories to life on culinary tours and special events, offered in 12 cities around the world, and have extensive international experience with all things gastronomical.


We're working with Chase Sapphire® to curate incredible travel experiences near, far and to the places-in-between, like this one to the Mexico. All cardmembers who book  their travel from 10/1-11/01/2018, receive a custom welcome package inspired by your destination!

  • Hands-on demonstrations
  • Market tours & tastings
  • Agricultural visits
  • Unusual sites & museums
  • Aztec-era canals


Itineraries and daily schedules are subject to change. We expect to do everything listed in the itinerary, though the order may be rearranged based on weather or other local conditions.
Culinary Backstreets
In Partnership with Culinary Backstreets

Trip Leader

Francisco ("Paco") is a Mexico City native who has a deep passion for his country's cuisine. In addition to being one of Culinary Backstreets' Mexico Team Leaders, he is also a bit of a Renaissance man, having been a former champion chess player and bullfighter. But these days, Paco focuses on the antojitos, or little culinary cravings of his hometown, which are a hallmark of a culinary tour of the city with him.

Additional Info

Pricing & Single Accommodations

The total cost of this trip is $2,375. For those traveling by themselves, single accommodations can be provided, subject to availability, at an additional cost of $425. Please contact us to request a single room.

Arrival & Departure

For flights in and out of Mexico City International Airport (Aeropuerto Internacional Benito Juárez), we suggest you arrive any time before 3 p.m. on October 2 and depart any time after 6 p.m. on October 6. We are happy to book you extra nights at the group's hotel (subject to availability) and provide suggestions for things to do and see in the city on your own.

Activity Level

Travelers should be reasonably fit and feel comfortable walking 2 to 4 miles each day and remaining on their feet for long periods of time. Keep in mind that Mexico City is a bustling and crowded place!

  • Four nights of hotel accommodation.
  • All meals and transportation during the trip, including in a private coach for visits outside the center city.
  • The company of an experienced, local English-speaking guide throughout the trip, as well as special guests throughout. 
  • Admission to all proposed activities, locations, and events.
  • Transportation and flights to and from Mexico City.
  • Airport transfers.
  • Travel insurance (recommended).
  • Additional meals and drinks outside of Atlas Obscura offerings.
  • If applicable, applying for a Mexican visa (not required for U.S. citizens).
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Trip FAQ

Yes, definitely! We are able to accommodate vegetarians as long as you give us a heads up.

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